This past fall, students in the Digital Electronics class met with Dairyland Power Cooperative about a partnership. Dairyland Cooperative typically uses a helicopter to check power lines. The hope was the class could create a device that was smaller and more efficient.
One of the students involved, Max Sexauer, said each year is something different and presents various challenges and lessons to be learned. "We put in a grant application as part of a contest. Our teacher really helped us out with that, he did all of the organization and contract signing. As part of that, he put in a little bit of a demonstration of last year's project which was an underwater ROV. They saw it and liked it, so they thought, 'let's do it again'," said Sexauer.
Technology and Engineering Instructor, Steve Johnston said this device could mean positive changes in the future."Something like this in the future could be used to replace a manned pilot that has to go over all of the transmission lines quarterly for inspection, which is between twelve to fifteen thousand dollars. So obviously this vehicle is a lot more inexpensive and perhaps even more mobile," said Johnston.
After laying out a definite plan and receiving the grant of $1,533 from the La Crosse Public Education Foundation, the students were ready to start the building and programming process. The foundation offers many grants, random acts of kindness, and endowment funds to enhance public education in the La Crosse School District.
Students said it was a fun and exciting experience that will carry over to the careers they hope to pursue including: computer science programming and physics.
Johnston said he hopes his students continue to have a passion for science and technology.